Politics of the Low Countries


Direct Democracy Integrity in Modern Authoritarian Systems

The Constitutional Referendum in Turkey 2017 and Russian Plebiscite in 2020

Keywords referendum, integrity, modern authoritarianism, opposition
Authors Norbert Kersting, Margarita Zavadskaya en Tiphaine Magne
Author's information

Norbert Kersting
Norbert Kersting is Professor at the University of Münster, Germany.

Margarita Zavadskaya
Margarita Zavadskaya is Professor at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Tiphaine Magne
Tiphaine Magne is a PhD candidate at the Lille Institute of Political Studies of the University of Münster, Germany.
  • Abstract

      Modern authoritarian regimes have implemented a relatively large number of referendums in recent decades. These have had important consequences for institutional change. Applying the new Direct Democracy Integrity Index to the Turkish constitutional referendum in 2017 and the Russian constitutional referendum in 2020, this analysis determines whether these plebiscites fulfil the standards of integrity and respect the rights of oppositional parties and minorities. We found that the level of integrity was lower during the pre-election period than during the election or the post-election period. We observe that modern authoritarian systems such as Russia (in 2020) use strategies of mobilisation, activism and even modern forms of deliberative democracy. However, their strategies are characterised by propaganda. In contrast, authoritarian regimes (such as Turkey) are still implementing strategies of repression which lead to passivity, disengagement and apathy. Both have strong implications for the integrity of referendums.

Please sign in to access the article

Did you receive an activation code but no access yet? Please activate your code here.

Forgot your password? Request new password.

Purchase access

You can purchase online access to this article. You will receive 24 hrs access @ € 17,50 (excl. VAT).

24 hrs access € 17,50 (excl. VAT)

Activate your code

If you have an access code, please activate it here.